What is dissipation of marital assets?

On Behalf of | Jan 14, 2022 | blog, Family Law

When a couple is going through a divorce that is not amicable, it is not uncommon for one spouse to accuse the other of dissipating marital assets. If a spouse can prove this occurred, it may affect how the court divides property during the divorce.

What is the dissipation of marital assets?

Example of martial asset dissipation

Dissipating marital assets is the act of intentionally wasting marital property to prevent a spouse from receiving that property in a divorce settlement. An example of dissipation might be a spouse spending a large sum at a casino for the sole purpose of preventing the other spouse from receiving the money in a divorce settlement. However, the intent to waste the money is necessary. If that same spouse is in the habit of regularly going to a casino and spends a large sum of money for reasons other than preventing the other spouse from having it, that would likely not constitute dissipation.

Proving dissipation

A forensic accountant may be useful for proving a dissipation claim. Forensic accountants examine financial records and other evidence to find proof of financial wrongdoing. However, the amount you are claiming must be substantial. If your spouse spent $20 at a casino, that isn’t likely to be proof of dissipation, even if the motivation was to keep you from getting the $20.


Because you must prove intent, proving dissipation of assets occurred can be difficult. For this reason, you may want to weigh the potential costs of investigating your claim versus the potential gain if you prove your claim.